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Senate stall on advice rules

Up in the air: The Coalition is playing for time on the financial advice regulations. Photo: Quentin JonesThe Abbott government has held off tabling its watered-down financial advice rules in the Senate as it seeks to use the coming days to lobby new Palmer United Party senators for support for the proposals.

Labor senators took the unusual step on Tuesday to try to table the Abbott government’s future of financial advice (FoFA) regulations, saying the Senate needed them to be introduced so the entire chamber could consider whether or not to disallow them.

But the Coalition refused, leaving Labor to accuse the government of wanting to give lobbyists more time to ”work on” Clive Palmer and PUP senators.

The Coalition’s amended financial advice laws have fallen into disarray this week after Mr Palmer said he ”would never” support them.

The government needs the support of Mr Palmer to get its amendments through the Senate.

It has until next Tuesday to table its regulation changes.

But on Tuesday, Labor senator Sam Dastyari tried to get the Coalition to table its own FoFA regulations but it refused.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has repeatedly declined to say when the government will table the regulations, even though they took effect on July 1.

Senator Cormann this week said that if his regulations were thrown out then he would consider extending some requirements, such as making advisers disclose fees charged in previous years, to financial advice provided through industry super funds.

David Whiteley, chief executive of Industry Super Australia, said there was ”genuine bewilderment” in the industry on that threat on Tuesday, because intra-fund advice was offered to members of every, not just industry, funds.

Senator Cormann also ruled out any prospect of an immediate royal commission into Commonwealth Bank or the financial planning industry, saying he wanted to see how the CBA compensation scheme for fraud victims would work.

His comments follow an explosive Senate report examining the performance of CBA and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which recommended a royal commission into the CBA over allegations of widespread fraud and misconduct in its financial planning division. CBA apologised to customers last week for misselling financial advice.

Senator Cormann said on Tuesday that the government would ”reserve judgment” on the need for a royal commission.

”We believe that the announcement by CBA of the open advice review program does offer that opportunity, but we reserve judgment, we will monitor the way that is being implemented.”

The post-desk ‘hot environment’ is coming

The “hot environment” uses more spaces where employees can encounter each other.Your next workplace may look more like your lounge room than an office.

Architects of a new generation of modern buildings are offering workers ”living spaces” and ”lounge” facilities to make them feel at home, often replacing the traditional desk and chair.

The trend towards activity-based work or ”hot desking” – now firmly entrenched in Australia’s corporate sector – will gradually evolve into ”informal” work spaces, says David Gianotten a director of OMA Hong Kong, the architects behind the iconic Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the new CCTV headquarters in Beijing.

Modern workplaces have been transformed over the past decade by activity-based working, where employees share desks and collaborative spaces, allowing businesses to save space and cut costs.

But new office designs were shifting towards pseudo ”living rooms” and more informal interiors, Mr Gianotten said.

”Instead of hot-desking it becomes simply a ‘hot’ environment, or ‘living room’ environment is a term that a lot of people now use, where you can choose your own way of working and are not locked to a desk any more.”

”You see more and more very informal spaces that are full of couches and soft furniture where people work a full day because they are used to lounging and lying around when they work with their computers,” Mr Gianotten said.

Not surprisingly, technology companies were at the forefront of the trend, but conservative businesses such as management consultants McKinsey & Company were also adapting, he said.

Architects were being challenged to design for contradictory needs.

People want choice, flexibility and the ability to influence their work space, while at the same time there was a push to ”more collaborative spaces, informal meeting spaces, more space for people just to encounter each other”, Mr Gianotten said.

”If you look at where it is heading currently, it is heading towards spaces without a desk. There are now in many office designs areas where you can be on a treadmill while you do your phone calls, or sit on a high stool with a moveable table in front of you.”

Australian businesses were quick to adopt activity-based working and are likely to move as fast towards informal spaces.

”We’re one of the leading markets in the world for that type of space in the workplace,” Hassell Studio principal Steve Coster said, citing recent home-like interior designs for advertising agencies George Patterson Y&R and Clemenger BBDO.

How far businesses took the idea depended on their circumstances, but it was driven by a recognition that employees spent a lot of time in the office and comfortable informal spaces helped them perform at their best, Mr Coster said. ”The more you can do your work from anywhere, the more important it is when you get together that you have high-value time,” he said.

The shift did not necessarily require businesses to use more floor space. Instead desk-related areas were more concentrated while the ”unorchestrated” part of the office became larger, Mr Gianotten said.

Design firms were employing behavioural specialists to better understand how to create interiors that encouraged creative interaction among employees, he said.

David Gianotten will speak at the Design Speaks: Work Place/Work Life Forum on July 14.

Crazy John’s brand to end in September

Crazy John’s was once a quirky mobile phone brand borne of a working class man whose branches dotted suburban Australia. But in September it will cease to exist – almost seven years after the tragic death of its founder, John Ilhan.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia will on Wednesday announce that Crazy John’s will be shut down and its 100,000 customers will be offered a move into the parent brand.

”It is a sad day and it’s certainly the end of an era in name but his pioneering spirit is alive here,” Vodafone Australia director of sales Ben McIntosh said. ”We look forward to welcoming those Crazy John’s customers who are coming over to Vodafone, and we say goodbye to those who are leaving and thank them for their loyalty and support over the years.”

Mr Ilhan, 42, collapsed and died while walking near his Melbourne home in October 2007. His death triggered an outpouring of grief from politicians and celebrities to then-prime minister John Howard.

Vodafone Australia bought 75 per cent of Crazy John’s from his widow, Patricia Ilhan, in 2008 for around $150 million.

The young entrepreneur who was the son of Turkish migrants loved the limelight and rode the mobile phone boom by turning his low-cost retail store into a national success story with 120 outlets and $200 million per year in revenues.

He sponsored football clubs, homeless youth shelters and food allergy fighters after discovering his daughter Jaida was unable to eat peanuts. He also tapped into antipathy about the national carrier, describing Telstra as a ”bully” that was no longer competitive as part of his sales pitch.

But his greatest commercial legacy was Crazy John’s – a name he claimed came to life because customers kept saying his marketing ideas were crazy.

The company was the first to offer $1 mobile phones that allowed customers to pay less up-front and more over the life of a contract. The practice is now common.

Vodafone Australia operated Crazy John’s as a separate entity until January, 2013, when it decided to merge it with the parent company and close down 40 of the 60 outlets that had survived – a move that saddened Ms Ilhan.

Vodafone Australia’s Mr McIntosh said that with customers down to around 100,000 users it no longer made sense to have both running.

He was keen to state that no staff would lose their jobs.

Crazy John’s was then run as an online-only operation with its own customers and prices that went as low as $5 per month – plans that shall no longer be offered.

HOME AGAIN: Alex McKinnon to makeemotional return to Hunter Stadium

IT shapes as the most emotional moment in the history of the Knights.

Four months after the devastating tackle that broke his neck and ended his rugby league career, Alex McKinnon will return to Hunter Stadium for the first time when the Knights host Gold Coast on Sunday week.

McKinnon’s appearance was confirmed yesterday in a media release to promote ‘‘RiseForAlex’’ round, the NRL’s fund-raising weekend to provide support for the 22-year-old Aberdeen product. “Being at the game in round 19 is going to be a great occasion,” McKinnon said in a video statement.

“Newcastle has looked after me and the whole community has looked after me over the last few months. I am really looking forward to going to the game.

“With the community of the NRL, my family, Teigan, all my mates and everyone from Newcastle, it hasn’t been easy, but they have made it a lot easier and I would just like to say thank you.”

It is unclear whether McKinnon will appear on the pitch before the game, allowing Knights fans to pay their respects, or if he would prefer to just take his seat in the coach’s box, as he did when Newcastle played the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on April 26.

Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said any suchdecision would be left entirely to McKinnon, but he admitted it would be a moving experience for everyone if the former Country Origin forward did accept an invitation to acknowledge the crowd.

‘‘We don’t want to put too much on Alex,’’ Gidley said yesterday.

‘‘We’re not going to ask him to do anything he doesn’t feel comfortable about.

‘‘I’m sure everyone would love to see him, but we just have to see how he’s feeling and be guided by Alex … to see him in round 19, physically at the game, I’d imagine it would be pretty powerful.’’

The NRL has arranged a host of fund-raising initiatives to coincide with ‘‘RiseForAlex’’ round, which should provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for his ongoing care and support.

Some of the key measures announced include:

● The NRL will donate $1 to the RiseForAlex Fund for every spectator who attends any match during round 19.

● Fans can buy RiseForAlex wristbands at all matches across rounds 19 and 20.

● Fans can also make donations at www.riseforalex杭州后花园.au or by texting RiseForAlex to 0498 555 555.

● Channel Nine’s Footy Show will host a telethon, with help from with 150 Telstra volunteers and players from several clubs, during their broadcast on Thursday week.

‘‘We’d just encourage everyone to get along and show their support for Alex,’’ Gidley said. ‘‘As Newcastle always does, we rally together through tough times, and it’s been difficult for Alex.

‘‘I’m certainly hopeful we’ll get some great support for Alex on Sunday week when we play the Titans.’’

UNITED: Maroons captain Cameron Smith and Blues skipper Paul Gallen at yesterday’s official launch of the RiseForAlex campaign in Brisbane.

State of Origin captains Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith joined forces yesterday to promote ‘‘RiseForAlex’’ round.

“We have put our rivalries aside for a short time today to come together for a cause that is at the heart of every player in the game,” NSW skipper Gallen said.

Queensland captain Smith said McKinnon had shown ‘‘incredible courage and positivity’’ and urged fans to ‘‘applaud Alex’s strength by digging deep and supporting the ‘RiseFor Alex’ round.’’

NRL chief executive Dave Smith said McKinnon’s ‘‘positive attitude and contagious smile’’ had made him ‘‘a true role model for everyone in the game’’.

“The rugby league community support one another in times of need and we are calling on fans to come together for Alex McKinnon,” he said.

The ‘‘RiseForAlex Fund’’, which is independently managed by a board of directors, is aiming to provide McKinnon with accessible housing, a vehicle, a wheelchair, physiotherapy and rehabilitation as well as ongoing medical assistance.

Duke of Kent unlikely to survive sale

The Duke of Kent is expected to fetch more than $10 million.Another free-standing Melbourne pub looks set to be sold as a development site as land values in the city’s heated property sector double.

The three-storey Duke of Kent Hotel on La Trobe Street has been put on the market by the Yankos family, which has owned the venue for 50 years.

The tan brick pub has served beer at the 502-square-metre corner site since 1929 under what is believed to be the oldest continous licence in Melbourne, first granted for another city location in 1843.

DTZ’s Patrick O’Callaghan, who is marketing the site, said the property was likely to attract much interest from local and offshore developers given the level of ”pent-up demand” and scarcity of developable city sites.

”Over the past 12 months the land rate per square metre has gone from just over $10,000 per square metre to in excess of $20,000 per square metre,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

Another hotel site, The Savoy at 134-160 Spencer Street, opposite Southern Cross Station, on one of the city’s busiest corners, sold last month in an off-market deal brokered by Colliers for about $24,317 per sq m to a new arrival, the Singaporean development company Fragrance Group.

Fragrance, controlled by property tycoon Koh Wee Meng, has outlaid $126.5 million buying three Australian sites in quick succession, including $78 million on 555 Collins Street, owned by developer Harry Stamoulis.

If the Duke of Kent attracts a similar land return it is expected to fetch more than $10 million.

The land has great redevelopment potential with three street frontages: La Trobe Street, Sutherland Street and Flanigan Lane.

Melbourne developer Brady Group recently finished construction of twin high-rise towers on the Little Lonsdale end of Sutherland Street.

”A development scheme has been undertaken by dKO Architecture in conjunction with Urban Pty Ltd for 322 apartments and ground-floor retail,” Mr O’Callaghan said. But it will be sold without a planning permit.

The Duke of Kent’s publicans had agreed to a variation of lease terms, which meant it would settle with vacant possession, he said.

Indigenous children suffer more abuse

Indigenous children are eight times as likely to suffer abuse or neglect than non-indigenous children, according to figures to be released on Wednesday.

The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says there were 42 substantiated cases of abuse or neglect for every 1000 indigenous children aged 17 or under in 2011-12, compared with five cases per 1000 non-indigenous children.

Rates of sexual assault among indigenous children in 2012 were between two and four times higher than those for non-indigenous children in the four jurisdictions with available data: NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

In NSW, children aged up to nine were 2.5 times more likely than their non-indigenous counterparts to suffer sexual assault. Indigenous children between 10 and 14 years old were three times as likely as their non-indigenous peers to be victims of sexual assault.

Nationally, indigenous children were more than twice as likely to die from injuries such as falls, transport accidents and assault than non-indigenous children.

Between 2007 and 2011 there were 80 deaths from injury for every 100,000 indigenous children, compared with 34 deaths for every 100,000 non-indigenous children.

Land transport accidents were the most common cause of death from external injury for indigenous children. They were three times as likely to die in a land transport accident as non-indigenous children.

The second most common cause of death from external injury for indigenous children was intentional self-harm. Indigenous children were nearly seven times as likely to die from intentional self-harm than non-indigenous children.

Indigenous children were more than six times as likely as non-indigenous children to die from accidental poisoning.

The report said the relatively high rates of preventable injuries in indigenous communities had been attributed to a range of factors including rates of drug and alcohol use, violence, remoteness, unsafe roads and poor access to healthcare.

Between July 2010 and June 2012, the hospitalisation rate for assault for indigenous children was more than five times the rate for non-indigenous children.

Indigenous children were over-represented in the child protection system, among clients of homelessness services and in the youth justice system.

In 2011-12, indigenous children were roughly 10 times as likely to be on care and protection orders or in out-of-home care as non-indigenous children.

In 2012-13, indigenous children represented 5.5 per cent of Australian children but almost a third of children who received assistance from a homelessness agency.

On an average day in 2012-13, 61 per cent of all children aged between 10 and 13 under youth justice supervision were indigenous, while among those aged 10 to 17 under supervision, 39 per cent of all males and 45 per cent of all females were indigenous.

Indigenous children between 10 and 17 were 17 times as likely to be under youth justice supervision, and 28 times as likely to be detained as non-indigenous children.

Bad break for Jets youth team striker


UNCERTAIN: Radovan Pavicevic and his broken arm, right. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

RADOVAN Pavicevic has been released from hospital, but it could be six months before the Jets youth team striker has fully recovered.

Pavicevic had a metal plate and 12 screws inserted in his left humerus after breaking his upper arm in a challenge in the Jets’ 2-0 win over South Cardiff in the Northern NSW National Premier League at Ulinga Oval on Saturday.

The teenager crashed into the metal railing on top of the fence around the ground.

‘‘His arm is in a sling and they have started work on getting his elbow and shoulder moving,’’ coach James Pascoe said last night.

‘‘However, there is still concern around possible permanent nerve damage.

‘‘He lost function in his wrist on Saturday night. That could be due to the swelling and the trauma compressing the nerves. It could take three to six months before that comes back fully.

‘‘Our physio was at the hospital this morning when Rad was released and spoke to the surgeon. They have not given us a time frame.’’

Pavicevic travelled with his father yesterday to their home in Sydney, where he will spend 10 days.

‘‘He has a little program to do across that period and then start a full-blown rehabilitation program,’’ Pascoe said.

The challenge by defender Matt Darr on Pavicevic did not result in a free kick.

Gunners coach Greg Asquith described the tackle as a ‘‘freak accident’’, but it has raised concerns over the proximity of the fence at Ulinga Oval and other grounds.

Under NPL rules, perimeter fencing should be five metres from the sideline and three metres from the byline.

‘‘We do have NPL facilities match-day requirements for all clubs which was implemented at the beginning of the year,’’ Northern NSW’s football operations manager, Alan Nisbet, said yesterday.

‘‘It is a working document because our clubs obviously already have the fields, council fields, they play on.

‘‘What we are doing is working with the clubs as best we can to implement the regulations over a period of time.’’

Pavicevic was the table-topping Jets’ leading scorer.

‘‘There is no doubts that he will be missed,’’ Pascoe said. ‘‘Rad has scored eight goals in 11 games, but that is eight out of 36 goals. Left back Ben Hay has scored five or six, Beau McDonald has six or seven, Brandon Lundy is about the same. We have goals in us.’’

Liam O’Reilly, Cody Carroll and Sam Waller are contenders to replace Pavicevic.

● Central Coast’s Josh Rose and Storm Roux, Sydney FC’s Sasa Ognenovski and Ali Abbas, and Western Sydney’s Matthew Spiranovic and Tomi Juric are the first players to join Alessandro Del Piero in the A-League All Stars to face Juventus at ANZ Stadium on August 10.

Asian markets hit Temasek growth

Assets of Singapore’s sovereign investment fund Temasek Holdings slowed in the year to March as Asian holdings weighed on the performance as it boosted its exposure to Europe and the US amid economic recoveries.

The value of Temasek’s holdings increased 3.7 per cent, less than half the growth the previous year, to a record $S223 billion ($US179 billion) compared with $S215 billion, it said in its latest annual report.

Total shareholder return for the period, which includes dividends, shrunk to 1.5 per cent from 8.9 per cent in its previous fiscal year.

North America and Europe accounted for about 40 per cent of new investments as of March 31, with the top investments in financial services, life sciences and energy.

The fund’s investments in Australia slipped to 10 per cent of the total, from 13 per cent a year earlier, but it still ranks as the third largest single geographic concentration, after Singapore and China, it said.

Additionally, former Australian prime minister John Howard is an adviser to the fund.

”This year has been one of our most active years for new investments – the most active since the global financial crisis – driven by softer Asian markets of interest, as well as the continued recovery of the global economy,” chairman Lim Boon Heng said.

Shareholder returns averaged 16 per cent since inception in 1974. The average return was 10.9 per cent over a five-year period, it said. Temasek invested $S24 billion in new investments in the year, up from $S20 billion a year earlier, it said.

It boosted its stake in the healthcare industry, investing $S1 billion in biotech company Gilead Sciences, as well as buying large holdings in Thermo Fisher Scientific, a manufacturer of scientific instruments and chemicals, and in BioMarin Pharmaceutical, a developer of therapeutic enzyme products.

Divestments declined to $S10 billion from $S13 billion a year earlier as Temasek sold shares of Bharti Telecom Ltd and Seoul Semiconductor. Assets in Singapore rose to 31 per cent from 30 per cent of its holdings, it said.

Investments in the rest of Asia were unchanged at 41 per cent, while those in North America and Europe rose to 14 per cent from 12 per cent.

Financial services, which had accounted for 31 per cent of Temasek’s assets in the year to March 2013, fell to 30 per cent and remained the biggest industry for Temasek’s portfolio. Holdings in China Construction Bank, Standard Chartered and DBS Group are Temasek’s biggest assets by value after the holding in Singapore Telecommunications.

Net income widened to $S10.9 billion from $S10.6 billion a year earlier, Temasek said.

Temasek originally served as an owner of shares in former state-owned companies and began directly investing in foreign equities in 2002. Temasek is the world’s 10th-biggest state investor, according to Institutional Investor’s Sovereign Wealth Centre.


Tim Owen calls for new negotiation on T4 levy

NOT HAPPY: Newcastle MP Tim Owen.NEWCASTLE council maintains the city was dudded. A ‘‘gobsmacked’’ Newcastle MP Tim Owen agreed, saying a new round of negotiations was the only way to turn things around.

But yesterday’s revelations that the city could lose as much as $48million worth of developer levies on the controversial fourth coal-loader project didn’t strike the same chord with Planning Minister Pru Goward, who baulked at hosing down the fire created by her state planning department bureaucrats.

As revealed by the Newcastle Herald, state planners recommended that Port Waratah Coal Services need only pay the council $528,000 to cover the potential impacts the coal-loader would have on the city. It was a long way short of the $48million, or 1per cent of the development’s $4.8billion value, that such developments could normally attract in Newcastle.

Ms Goward was asked if she thought her department’s recommendation was fair given the size of the development and its potential impacts on the city’s air, roads and infrastructure, health and environment.

‘‘The minister will look forward to Port Waratah and the council negotiating an outcome and to hearing what the Planning Assessment Commission has to say,’’ was all a spokesman for Ms Goward would say yesterday.

Earlier, her office had argued that it had been difficult for the Department of Planning to make a recommendation on developer contributions because the council itself had not lodged any submission.

In fact, the council had warned the department on several occasions that its ‘‘Section 94A levy’’ was notably absent from the department’s draft recommendations.

As late as February this year, the council advised the department that it would seek the full $48million levy from PWCS unless an agreement was negotiated between the two parties.

‘‘There is no doubt that everyone was a bit gobsmacked when the department approved the project without some sort of [agreement] between Port Waratah and the council,’’ Mr Owen said.

‘‘I think even PWCS was surprised … But there is no doubt the company and the council need to negotiate an outcome. Port Waratah lives in this city as well and I know they want to do the right thing.

‘‘I’ll be writing a submission to the PAC myself and I’ll be saying that the contribution needs to be significantly more than what the department has recommended.’’

Council general manager Ken Gouldthorp said there were two options.

‘‘Either Port Waratah needs to come forward and enter an agreement with council or the [department’s] recommendation needs to change,’’ he said.

But Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne wants PWCS to pay the full $48million levy. He said that while PWCS might point to the upgrades of Cormorant Road and expensive environmental offsets as ‘‘other benefits’’ of their project, they are requirements of the development consent and not ‘‘special gifts’’.

Despite PWCS indicating that it is happy to negotiate a final amount with the council, Cr Osborne remained doubtful.

‘‘Why would PWCS pay more now that the department has said it’s happy for them to hand over just half a million?’’ he said. ‘‘It’s ridiculous.’’